The deepest poverty is the incapacity for joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today (in very different forms) in the materially rich as well as in the poor countries.
The incapacity for joy presupposes and produces the inability to love. It produces jealousy, avarice—all the defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world.
This is why we are in need of a new evangelization. If the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science. This art can only be communicated by one who has life—He who is the Gospel personified.
The art of Christian living begins at home. Parenting is the most basic, comprehensive, and demanding form of youth ministry! (Add your adjective to the list: humbling, joyful, exhausting, excruciating, hilarious, . . .)
CCD and youth ministry reinforce each other, but their goals are different. One is about understanding the mysteries of the faith; the other is about how those mysteries unlock the "art of living." We can't understand the faith without living it, but we also can't live it without understanding it. And here at St. Patrick's we are very fortunate to have an exceptional four-year high school CCD program.
It’s important for young people to serve in the parish alongside adults in various appropriate ways, especially as they get into their high school years. Their experience of parish life shouldn’t be limited to a youth group subculture—however fun and devout a subculture it may be.
Of course, we hope youth group becomes an enjoyable and important part of your child's life. At the same time, it's not a sacrament! If, after giving it a solid try, one of your children doesn’t want to attend, he should not be made to feel he is therefore failing in his faith. He or she may just prefer other avenues. Consider the needs and desires of each child.